For example, James Bond, Man with No Name(Clint Eastwood), Tyler Durden, etc.

It seems that smoking is associated with coolness and having an edge. Where and why did this trope start?

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    How old are you? My guess would be 'under 30'. Historically, it was cool. Why was it cool? Because times were different. They did things differently back then. It didn't become (slowly) uncool until the last 30 years. – Tetsujin Dec 24 '20 at 19:55
  • Out of your 3 examples, one is over 20 years old and another is from the 1960's. Not exactly current examples of something being phased out. – Meat Trademark Dec 24 '20 at 20:27
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    This isn't really a film trope just because it's depicted in films, too. It is a far broader cultural attitude. – Napoleon Wilson Dec 24 '20 at 20:35
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    Depends on the movie, too. 101 Dalmatians is from 1961 and Cruella de Vil's smoking is most certainly not depicted as cool. – F1Krazy Dec 24 '20 at 21:15
  • Appreciate the time and effort trying to get the questioner understand the situation. – RAWOKATO Dec 25 '20 at 15:55

This isn't a trope, i.e. movies coming up with a particular idea. It's a matter of movies reflecting reality. Though increasingly outdated today, there has been many decades of overlap where movies were popular and smoking was commonplace and advertised without any negative connotation. Even after the negative connotation started becoming more mainstream, the idea that it's cool to smoke still stuck with a lot of people, even to this day.

It's not a matter of "smoking is cool" initially. It's a matter of "This character is cool, and also smokes", and movies tend to depict cool people (or people who will be considered cool in hindsight because of the movie's popularity), and the image becomes iconic enough to eventually turn into a subconscious assumption of "they smoke, so they must be cool".

That's not logically sound but it is a very common human thought process.

  • Better said.... – RAWOKATO Dec 25 '20 at 15:56

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